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Home Garden Variety Trials

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North Dakota State University (NDSU) is working with gardeners across the state to evaluate promising vegetable, herb and flower varieties. Gardeners share the results of their research to develop a list of recommended varieties for the state. 

Who Can Participate?

All gardeners are welcome to participate. This includes young and old, experts and beginners, commercial growers and backyard gardeners. Over 200 families participate in these trials every year. We focus our work with North Dakotans, but will work with gardeners of adjacent states/provinces who live near North Dakota. 

Selecting Trials

Households may select up to seven trials. Each trial is a comparison of two varieties. Seed packets contain enough seeds to plant a 10-foot row of each variety. Thus, if you would choose to participate in a red radish trial, you would receive enough seeds to plant two 10-foot rows of red radishes. 

Our Agreement

This project is a research program, not a seed store. Gardeners must agree to manage their seeds in a responsible manner. They must sow, grow, harvest, and taste the vegetables. Gardeners must report their results to NDSU. Reports should be submitted after the first hard frost in fall.

Is It Hard to Evaluate Varieties?

Laying out the plots is easy. You will receive planting instructions along with your seeds, row markers, and evaluation forms with your order.

We use 10 feet as our guide to get a fair look at a variety. Persons with small gardens or container gardens may participate, but please allow for a fair look of each variety.

NDSU is not looking for complicated data. For each trial, we wish to know which of the two varieties germinated best, was most healthy, produced higher yields, and produced the best tasting vegetables (or best looking flowers). We wish to know which of the two varieties you prefer and which (if any) you recommend to other gardeners in North Dakota.

What Will We Do With the Results?

Upon receiving the results of gardeners (typically soon after the frost), NDSU will compile the results and send a final report summary to all gardeners. Summaries and full reports are available in our results page of this web site. 

The results will be used to develop recommendations of vegetable cultivars for gardeners in North Dakota and distributed via University publications and broadcasts.